The basics – a glance back in time
Let’s face it. People stutter. In fact, approximately 1% of the world’s population is affected by a fluency disorder and that includes the beautiful actress Emily Blunt, the talented singer Carly Simon, ABC’s news chief Byron Pitts, Albert Einstein and athletes such as Bob Love the legendary Chicago Bulls forward. Stuttering does not discriminate and can affect any person from any walk of life. The difference is how that person chooses to handle their speech difficulties.
Stuttering is characterized primarily by blocks or spasms interrupting the more typical cadence of fluent speech. We all experience periods of disfluency. In fact, during 2% of our conversations people can be heard saying things like (“I might…..,” “I might…,” “I might head to the store.”) All of us stutter on a regular basis. That being said, a person who is considered to have a severe stutter, is disfluent more than 10% of the time. For many, stuttering can have a negative impact on a person’s life.
As a therapist, I have always been fascinated by the intriguing qualities each of these awesome individuals possess but more so about their journey. Years ago I worked with a business owner in the manufacturing industry. He had single handedly assembled his company from scratch and built a thriving business that still stands today. As a child, he had received some therapy but had not had support for 20 years. He once told me he attributed his great success to stuttering because he always felt he had something to prove and therefore, always worked harder. The flip side, he had a horrible chip on his shoulder. In most instances he was able to control it but at times he was not. If a person unknowingly completed a sentence for him at a restaurant, didn’t appear to include him in a conversation or was cut off on the phone when he was experiencing a block, he would lose it on them and become very abrupt. This happened with family, friends and even strangers. When it escalated and was brought to his attention, he knew, once again, it was time to address his speech, the core of this negative behavior. He did and is now a far more effective communicator and a happier person.
The facts – what are the stats?
- About one in five children experience some type of disfluency between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. These periods can last from three to six months. Many children will pass through this phase, leaving approximately 1% of children with a fluency disorder.
- Some people believe they will outgrow their fluency disorder. Typically, children will outgrow fluency delays by age 7 or 8. Therefore, if you continue to stutter into your teen years, chances are it will be with you throughout adulthood.
- Stuttering affects 4 times as many males as females.
- The cause of stuttering is unknown. However, there are four main factors believed to be at the root of stuttering. They are; genetics (60% of people who stutter have a family member who does), childhood development (presence of other speech – language delays), neurophysiology (how we process speech and language) and family dynamics (pace of life, stress, etc).
- To date, there is no cure for stuttering. However, decades of research support the positive effects of speech therapy.
Moving Forward – what are your options?
If you are a parent of a child who stutters, we encourage you to read the following article http://www.stutteringhelp.org/if-you-think-your-child-stuttering. If the stuttering continues more than 3-6 months, we would strongly encourage you to contact a speech language pathologist for a consultation and coaching. If you are a teen or an adult who stutters, you are not alone. Do not let stuttering define who you are. It’s never too late to learn new skills that can help you to be an effective communicator. Get the support you need to find your best voice and to be the best communicator that you can be. Be great! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noRD0CxQN0k
Kara Broks & the SLN team
- To learn more about our stuttering therapy programs, please contact us by phone at 306 933 3222 and/or by email email@example.com. You may also visit our website thesln.com (services – fluency therapy)
Resources / Statistics